Monday, December 29, 2008

Stacking kitties

In a mostly futile attempt to keep Wally awake during the day, Kent will search out their napping spots and then bring one (usually Wally) into the other and attempt to stack them. Think Legos and you'll see what he's going for. Stacking as stacking rarely works but stacking as a method of waking up kitties is pretty successful. These three pictures show yesterday's stacking effort.





Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This may be an ordinary wool sock to you and me, but to Wally it's a lot more.



Edited to add: Now Eddie is licking the same sock. I have no idea what's on those merino wool socks but the kitties love them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This is our first Christmas in Boston, and at first I thought we would have a white Christmas after getting 14 inches of snow over the weekend. Yesterday was quite cold but today the temperatures are rising, it's supposed to rain all day and tomorrow it will be in the mid-40s. I'm pretty sure our snow will be mostly gone, and what's left will probably be pretty ugly.

We are going to see the Boston Pops today at 3 PM. I hope we like it, because if we do that may end up being a little Boston tradition for us. We were able to get reasonably priced tickets, partly because the main conductor is not doing this show, and I think it's also partly because we are going in the afternoon. Tonight I'm making stuffed flounder from my trusty New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet cookbook. Tomorrow I'll make my mother's fantastic roast pork recipe, along with a port-cranberry sauce (except I use cran-raspberry juice instead of orange juice), and of course mashed potatoes. We'll have pumpkin pie for dessert because to me, pumpkin pie defines holidays. My poor daughter-in-law doesn't like pumpkin pie, which makes me feel so sorry for her!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Congratulations to my sister & her husband!

My sis Amy had her son early this morning--Schuler James Hurst weighs 6 pounds, 9 ounces which is pretty darn cool considering that he's about four weeks early. Way to go Amy!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

more snow!

Here's the view from this morning. It's still snowing but is supposed to turn to a mix of snow and rain later today. We'll see.

Edited to add: Kent actually measured the snow on our patio table when he shoveled this morning--14 inches!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow galore

I'd planned to walk over to the post office this morning so I could mail Alison's box of clothing to her but as you can see, we got a little snow last night. And it's still snowing this morning plus it's pretty chilly. Our high is supposed to be 20 with wind chill values in the low to mid-teens. Brrr. We're on tap for up to three additional inches today and another couple tomorrow. Sorry Alison, maybe on Monday I can get it mailed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy bee today

I finished Alison's second outfit which you can see here. Kent took this picture and you can see the material I used on the front facing. That dusty plum is a sort of stretch, almost smooth corduroy so it should keep her warm. As I made the pants, the legs seemed a little wide to me so we'll see how they fit.

The picture on the right shows the pants I made to go with the pinafore I made last week. The scrap of material draped across the pants is what I used to make the pinafore. I figure Alison can wear a long sleeve tee shirt under the pinafore while the weather is cooler, and then later (if she hasn't outgrown it), switch to a short sleeve shirt or even no shirt at all. Hey it gets hot in Virginia!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The video says it all

Freaky cat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yesterday's project

I made this dress for a friend who is having her first girl after two sons. She's due January 20 so by the time she can wear this, it will be summer here.



If you take a look at the slide show on the left, you will see I was well supervised as I sewed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OK I'm a softie

Kent sent me this link. I'll warn you, it made me tear up. I'll also warn you the song is ultra cheesy and I still teared up.

Sore!

I work out at home, partly because I'm too cheap to join a gym and partly because I'm more apt to actually work out if I can get going first thing in the morning. But I can get bored with the various DVDs I have so from time to time, I'll order new ones. As Kent has said, it's hard to know whether I'll actually like a work out until I can try it. That means I've gotten some that are real dogs (Kathy Smith salsa??) but others have become tried and true favorites.

Lately I'd been feeling as though my abs were getting flabby so I ordered Kathy Smith's Tummy Trimmers. It's got five 10-minute ab work outs on it, and that reminded me of the Ab Lab classes at the Sprint gym. I also liked that the classes were each just 10 minutes, although I did wonder how effective they would be. I love it! The only work out I won't be able to do is the one that uses a stability ball since not only do I not have one, I don't have room for one. But the other four work outs are just fantastic. And the some of them are hard.

On the kitty front, Wally has just been a spaz lately. Here are two pictures that shows what he was into yesterday. I wasn't able to get a picture of him trying hard to get into the butter dish or a picture of him knocking over the trash can, but you get the idea. The last picture is a typical Eddie pose, he's monorail cat on the back of Kent's chair.

Heat lamp kitty:


Dryer kitty:


Monorail cat:


Finally, check out Alison in her new dress. Jen said she was using the bag as a hat.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Warning, book ahead

The last 12 months were really hard. Kent and I lived apart while our KC house was on the market, and weren't sure if it would sell. I didn’t know that the recession had begun, all I knew was that I couldn't find work and worse I couldn't find opportunities I could apply for. I felt like I got the unglamorous end of the relocation stick since I was still in KC, unemployed and responsible for keeping the house in show-ready condition. As I told several of you, the highlight of my day was often deciding whether or not I would vacuum or scoop litter.

I turned to sewing as a way to get out of my own pity party, and in fact made the first dress for Alison pretty much sniffling the whole time. I know that sounds really drama queen-esque but it was a hard time and I had no idea if or when it would end. Sewing for her helped me focus on something other than myself, and it produced something useful to boot.

I mention all that because while the house did sell (hurrah!) and Kent and I are together again (bigger hurrah!), I’m still unemployed. But when I sewed the dress and pinafore for Alison last week, I had a chance to reflect on where I was mentally and emotionally and knew I was OK with things as they are. I won’t lie, I’d rather be working in my field because I do enjoy it. I don't think that is going to happen—I see the same three jobs posted to Monster in my field and none are suitable—plus I would really like to get the master’s degree in counseling.

All in all, I’ve learned a lot this last year. The biggest, most important thing I’ve learned is that Kent is beyond trustworthy. I had remnants of distrust from my first marriage and while I knew I wasn’t going to starve, I did fear potential resentment from Kent or judgment if I bought, say, a lipstick or a shirt. I don’t know why I tried to put that on him, he has shown me over the last nine years what a kind, generous, and loving man he is.

I’ve also learned I am far more than the sum of my job responsibilities. I’ve had a chance to deepen my relationships with my younger son and his wife, and reach out to people long distance to maintain the friendships that are so important to me.

I might not have learned these lessons had I stayed employed and focused on the hustle and bustle of my career. In a weird sort of way, I find myself grateful.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A new dress

I received the highest compliment anyone who sews can receive--my daughter-in-law asked me to make Alison another dress! I've made her a couple but that was in the summer, and so Jen and I looked at patterns online while we were there for Thanksgiving and picked two out. I got the material for the first one this past Saturday. Yesterday I made the dress and little bag, and today I did the pinafore.

I did make two mistakes: first I didn't get the collar lined up just right so there was a bit of a gap between the two sides. I solved that problem by putting a large button in the middle and honestly I like it better that way. The second mistake was more not realizing I was about out of thread when I was ready to make the buttonholes on the pinafore. So I didn't use the same contrast color I had been using but instead used a color that's a more subtle, background color.

Here's the finished product:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wally the weird again

He is so strange. I sewed all day today, and when he wasn't complaining that he couldn't "help" me, this is how he spent his time.

Of noses and neti pots

Something in Boston doesn't like my sinuses and I've had a lot of congestion, sneezing and general misery for the last three months. I hoped that when the temperatures dropped below freezing for a week that I would feel better, but no luck so far. Here's how bad it is: I will blow my nose and Kent and all three kitties will react to the whistles coming out of my head. Painful, really.

I'd read about neti pots (here's an article from the NY Times) and how they are supposed to help relieve congestion due to allergies or whatever. But I could never bring myself to consider really using one because after all you are basically pouring water in one nostril so it can drain out of the other one. Yuck.

This week, though, I hit rock bottom with the nose. I had a really bad fit of sneezing and snot in the middle of the grocery on Monday, and I thought OK it's time to give the neti pot a try.

I used it yesterday, and will say it's not the cure all I'd hoped for. I found it very difficult to get much water going in my nose, and didn't see much difference yesterday. But I am a little better today so I guess I'll try it again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

First snow!

I doubt it sticks since the temperature is above freezing now; it is supposed to go down to 17 F tonight though.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Will the box obsession ever end?

I took these this morning and stopped briefly between each to keep the file size down. They are in chronological order.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


PS These are for you, Alison!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decorations

Since our house was on the market last year, our realtor advised us to put up very few decorations. So most of our things stayed packed up, and then we had to get rid of a lot of them because we knew we wouldn't have a 2800 square foot house in Boston.

Here is this year's tree. Yes, it's a little ceramic tree with LED lights that flash but at least I know the kitties won't eat it, although I guess they could still knock it over and break it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Kent took some Thanksgiving pictures for Ben and Jen, and once he finished taking them, I took this video.



Ben and Jen have two kitties, Milo and Smoochie. Smoochie is named that because when they got him just over a year ago, he was a tiny kitten who would put his little nose up to your face and give you smooches. He doesn't do that any more but he's still quite affectionate, if a whole lot bigger. Both cats love to sit in the dining room window and look outside to the strawberry/raspberry patch and chitter at the birds and squirrels. Their coloring is almost exactly the same; Milo is on the left and is a dusty orange while Smoochie is on the right and has more visible tiger striping on his fur. Well and he's a really big boy.

Milo started out as Ben's kitty but as you can see, he's now all about Jen.









Finally, here's a picture I took when Kent was taking those Thanksgiving pictures I mentioned.